November 20, 2013 10:49 am -

Joseph Paul Franklin was executed in Missouri. Franklin targeted blacks and Jews during a crime spree from 1977-1980.

Franklin, 63, was put to death for the 1977 sniper killing of Gerald Gordon at a suburban St. Louis synagogue. The U.S. Supreme Court early Wednesday upheld a federal appeals court decisions overturning stays granted Tuesday by federal judges in Jefferson City, Mo., and St. Louis.

Mike O’Connell, of the Missouri Department of Public Safety, said the execution got the final OK from Gov. Jay Nixon at 6:05 a.m. By this time, Franklin was already strapped to a table in theh state’s death chamber at Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center, ready for the injection. He received a lethal injection at 6:07 a.m., and his death was confirmed at 6:17 a.m.

The execution was the first in Missouri using a single drug, pentobarbital. Three media witnesses said Franklin did not seem to express pain. He did not make any final written statement and did not speak a word in the death chamber. After the injection, he blinked a few times, breathed heavily a few times, and swallowed hard, the witnesses said. The heaving of his chest slowed, and finally stopped, they said.

Franklin shot porn publisher Larry Flynt in 1978, and Flynt had been speaking out against executing him.